Many ICBC injury claimants have been denied disability benefits on the grounds that their injuries are not totally disabling. Often an injury claimant is physically able to do a task or job but is advised by a medical doctor not to engage in the activity. This advice could be for the purpose of recovery, treatment or because of vulnerability to re-injury.
A good working definition of total disability is:
“The test of total disability is satisfied when the circumstances are such that a reasonable man would recognize that he should not engage in certain activity even though he is not physically unable to do so. In other words, total disability does not mean absolute physical inability to transact any kind of business pertaining to one’s occupation, but rather that there is a total disability if the insured’s injuries are such that common care and prudence require him to desist from his business or occupation in order to effectuate a cure; hence, if the condition of the insured is such that in order to effect a cure or prolongation of life, common care and prudence will require that he cease work, he is totally disabled within the meaning of health or accident insurance policies.”(quoted by Laskin, C.J.C. in Paul Revere Life Insurance Company v. Sucharov (1983) 5 D.L.R. (4th) 199 at page 203,and cited in Ruby Mary Shewchuk v. London Life Insurance, Vancouver Registry No. C933236 (April 22-26, 1996) Mr. Justice Meiklem: quoting from 15 Couch on Insurance,(1983), s. 53:118)